Former WWF champion Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart has died at 63 years old.
Cause of death is unknown. TMZ reported that Neidhart passed away early Monday morning after suffering a medical emergency at his home in Florida.
Brian Blair, who often competed in the Killer Bees tag team against Neidhart and Bret “Hitman” Hart, confirmed the news this morning.
Here’s what you need to know about Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart:
1. Before Becoming a Pro-Wrestler, Neidhart Had a Career in The NFL; He Played With The Oakland Raiders And The Dallas Cowboys
Neidhart was a track and field star at Newport Harbor High School in Orange County, California, where he held the shot put record in the state of California for over a decade.
After high school he attended tryouts to play for Oakland Raiders and then the Dallas Cowboys, but only ever played in preseason games. Neidhart decided to go to Calgary, where he was one of the last to be trained by Stu Hart, legendary Canadian football player and wrestler who would become Neidhart’s father-in-law.
Bret Hart, Neidhart’s brother-in-law, reminisced on Neidhart’s initiation process in an interview with WWE back in 2015.
My dad was no spring chicken anymore, and I didn’t see anyone past Neidhart that he put the time into. He completely trained Jim on his own. Jim was my dad’s product. Jim was third in the world at shot put. He was training to get signed by the [Oakland] Raiders and was referred to my dad from somebody at the gym. He called directory assistance, found my dad and asked him to teach him to wrestle.
He was a big, strong kid. He had a bench press close to 600 pounds. He was super-strong and really quick. He left Calgary after my dad taught him and got signed by the Raiders. He came back to train with my dad after he was injured. Then he was with the Cowboys and got cut. He was the last cut the year the Cowboys won the Super Bowl in ’78.
2. Neidhart Joined WWE in 1985 As a Part of The Hart Foundation Managed by Jimmy Hart
Neidhart and Bret Hart, his brother-in-law, formed a vicious fighting team. Their pay-per-view debut was at WrestleMania II in 1986. They were a part of a 20-man battle, making it to the final round but were ultimately eliminated.
The might duo fought famously until 1991 when the Hart Foundation split after WrestleMania VII to focus on solo careers. Bret saw more success than Jim, who had to be carried from the ring after wrestler Ric Flair forced an incapacitating move on him.
As Neidhart was leaving the ring, a fighting duo named the Beverly Brothers were making their entrance and decided to jump Neidhart, injuring him further. Neidhart returned a month later for revenge, bringing Owen Hart, Bret’s younger brother, along for the fight. The two formed a team that ended up feuding with Bret and his partner, Davey Boy Smith.
At SummerSlam 1994, in a steel cage match, Neidhart tried to take out Bret and Smith with Owen aiding him, but was defeated.
3. Neidhart is Married And Has Three Daughters, One of Them a WWE Wrestler
Neidhart married Elizabeth Hart, the daughter of his trainer, Stu Hart. The two have three daughters of their own: Jennifer, Natalie and Kristen.
Natalie is currently signed to WWE as a professional wrestler under the name "Natalya." Neidhart's son-in-law Tyson Kidd (TJ Wilson) was also a former WWE wrestler and is now one of their producers.
Neidhart was on multiple episodes of E! reality show “Total Divas” alongside his daughter Natalie.
4. Neidhart Had a History of Substance Abuse; He Was Arrested in 2010 on Drug Trafficking Charges
According to the Huffington Post, back in September of 2010, Neidhart was facing charges for “two counts of possession of a controlled substance, two counts of trafficking of illegal drugs, one count of burglary and one count of grant theft.”
According to Tampa Bay Police, Neidhart was causing a scene at gas station. Someone called police after he dropped “multiple pills on the ground while inside the trunk of his vehicle.”
When police arrive, they found 55.6 grams of Oxycontin and 17.4 grams of methadone on him.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff website indicated that Judge Espinosa sentenced Neidhart to 5 months and 29 days for first degree theft and possession of controlled substance.
According to The Sportster, Neidhart went berserk in the courtroom when sentenced and was held in contempt of the law. It’s unclear whether on not Neidhart served his sentence.
Jim Neidhart’s Greatest Moments With WWE
On January 26, 1987, when the Hart Foundation defeated the British Bulldogs:
His match against Jeff Harvey in his return in 1994:
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart Highlight Reel and Tribute:
This story is being developed. Check back for cause of death.